Spraying Make sure that leaves dry off after spraying protected crops for maximum control effect. Apply products in the morning to give foliage time to dry off during the day. Avoid frost before, during and after applications at this time of the year. Cold fogging can get a pesticide into a crop using low water levels.
Rabbits Gas tablets such as Talunex used during the winter months when populations are small and no young are present is effective on any rabbit holes that have established within the container growing area. You should ensure that all of your staff are suitably trained and certificated to carry out the gassing work. For further details, see www.ramps-uk.org.
Herbaceous weed control For late-season herbaceous perennials that die down and shoot again in the spring, use the dormant months to clean up weed growth by spraying them with a tank mix of Harvest and Flexidor 125. Other dormant season products available include Devrinol, products containing lenacil or Springbok. Horticultural Development Company (HDC) levy payers should check the Weed Control Handbook and HDC project HNS 166 for tolerance of fieldand container-grown species.
Lighting Consider supplementary lighting over some crops during times of low light levels. A range of lights is available to suit most schemes. The benefits from lighting stock plants for earlier cutting production or seedlings for quicker establishment can soon pay for the investment. Lighting should be used in conjunction with adequate heating to get a balanced growth.
Heat treatment With Vydate 10G (EAMU 2012-2322) the only effective insecticide against eelworm during the growing season, you should consider building a stock plant hot water treatment unit. The treatment of stock plant material during the winter can help to control eelworm in shrubs and herbaceous. Pythium, Phytophthora and rusts are also controlled too. Reuse pots and trays after treating them in a similar way by building a large hot water bath - HDC levy payers can go through HDC fact sheet 20/08.
John Adlam, Managing director, Dove Associates, HorticultureWeek.co.uk/nursery.